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DT 26983

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26983

Hints and tips by scchua

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Firstly thanks to BigDave for covering for me on Wednesday (busy week for him!).

This started off quite easily on the left side, but stalled a bit, but not much, with the remainder.  I would therefore give it a 2-2.5* for difficulty, and 3* for enjoyment, with the caveat that these are always subjective.  Thank you to setter.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  “[xxx]” denotes a synonym or equivalent to “xxx”.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

9    Smell coming from party in old, old city (5)

{ODOUR} : A party,function contained in {abbrev. for “old” + an old,ancient Sumerian city, favourite of setters}.

10    Capital city to suffer loss of life when captured by British officer (9)

{BRIGADIER} : {A capital city in the Baltic + [to expire,to suffer loss of life]} contained in(captured by) abbrev. for “British”.

11    Worker protected in secure American city (5,2)

{SANTA FE} : An insect belonging to its society’s worker caste contained in(protected in) [secure].

12    Like fans making fuss meeting group (7)

{ADORING} : [A fuss,to-do] + a group of people, usually organised for illegal activities.

Answer: Descriptive of fans towards their idols.

13    Greek detectives about to apprehend men (5)

{DORIC} : Reversal of(about) abbrev. for the police organisation,detectives in England containing(to apprehend) abbrev. for military men who are not commissioned. Nice surface.

Answer: Could be a dialect of ancient Greece, or descriptive of one form of their architecture.

14    Gloomy nature with sin needing to be put right (9)

{SATURNINE} : Anagram of(needing to be put right) {NATURE + SIN}.

Answer: Derived from astrology, referring to the supposed influence exerted by a body.

16    Provides varietyit’s what one who knows the ropes does (5,3,7)

{RING THE CHANGES} : Double defn: 2nd: Literally what one, having learnt the ropes, does.

19    Donkey left in very good pasture (9)

{GRASSLAND} : [donkey] + abbrev. for “left” contained in [very good,great,imposing].

21    I had taken the initiative and watched others working? (5)

{IDLED} : Contraction of “I had” + [taken the initiative,be first].

Answer: By implication what you did in order to watch others working.

23    Cloud with one edge changing, appearing as a mound (7)

{TUMULUS} : A type of cloud formation with its first letter(one edge) changed.

Answer: An artificial mound, especially over a grave.

25    A report shocking magistrate once (7)

{PRAETOR} : Anagram of(shocking) A REPORT.

Answer: A magistrate of ancient Rome, once.

27    Perfume that’s special to wearers (9)

{ROSEWATER} : Anagram of(special) (TO WEARERS) .

Answer: A perfume made with the oil of flowers.

28    Discover knight sitting by river beyond meadow (5)

{LEARN} : {Abbrev. for “knight”, in chess notation placed after(sitting by) abbrev. for “river”} placed after(beyond) [meadow]


1    Manage to cry when upset over son not getting on (4)

{BOSS} : Reversal of(when upset) [to cry, with sound] placed above(over, in a down clue) “son” minus(not getting) “on”.

Answer: As a verb.

2    One who signs up as member of carpenter’s team? (6)

{JOINER} : Double defn: 2nd: A carpenter with a specialisation.

3    Fat groups of actors in TV shows? (10)

{BROADCASTS} : [fat sideways] + [groups of actors].

Answer: Noun for things that are transmitted, eg. TV shows. Nice surface.

4    What makes bishop be taken in by idiot woman trying to be religious? (6)

{ABBESS} : {Abbrev. for “bishop”, in chess notation + BE} contained in(taken in by) [idiot]. Ditto surface.

Answer: A woman in an all-female religious institution. I wonder about “trying” – is it the fact that she can be “trying” to the others?

5    Part of splendid act I contrived teaching (8)

{DIDACTIC} : Hidden in(Part of) “splendid act I contrived “.

Answer: Intended to instruct or teach.

6    The old man with nothing may be seen going round room (4)

{DADO} : An informal name for a relation you might also refer to as “the old man” + the letter that looks like zero,nothing.

Answer: An architectural feature going round the walls of a room.

7    Little woman in aquatic sport falling apart (8)

{DIVIDING} : Short for(Little) a woman’s name contained in an Olympic aquatic sport, with sometimes controversial judging.

8    Horrible woman clothed in soft colour advanced (10)

{PROGRESSED} : A much more horrible version of a female Shrek contained in(clothed in) {abbrev. for the musical instruction to play softly + a colour}

13    Insulting rogue without hesitation, a member of Government? (10)

{DEROGATORY} : [A contemptible rogue, not a lovable one] containing(without) a verbal expression of hesitation + member of a political party, who could also be in government.

15    Abseiler to wobble holding a line? It’s within the bounds of possibility (10)

{REALISABLE} : Anagram of(to wobble) ABSEILER containing(holding) { A + abbrev. for “line”}.

17    Like teacher’s pet in mishap that’s almost disastrous (4,4)

{NEAR MISS} : Cryptic defn: [close] + what pupils might call their teacher – where her pet might be.

18    They may help you to hear top groups (8)

{HEADSETS} : [top, say, of your anatomy] + [groups,collections].

Answer: A WIWD (wordplay intertwined with definition) clue, with top groups being what you might hear with these.

20    Quit indoor sport shortly after grabbing record (6)

{DEPART} : An indoor sport, usually played in pubs, minus its last letter(shortly) containing(grabbing) abbrev. for the format of an old-fashioned record disc.

22    All the worse for being vicious (6)

{LETHAL} : Anagram of(worse) ALL THE.

24    The French world, first and last, is vulgar (4)

{LEWD} : The French word for “the” + first and last letters of “world”.

Answer: I don’t believe the setter really means that about the French!

26    Money must be managed with diligence initially (4)

{RAND} : [managed an organisation, say] + first letter(initially) of “diligence”.

Answer: A unit of money. Another nice surface.

The Quick crossword pun: {book} + {arrest} + {Bucharest}

93 comments on “DT 26983

  1. Not wishing to upset Stan and the other grumpies, I shall just say that I found this a very enjoyable start to Friday morning. Thanks to Giovanni and scchua too – I have rung in some very scary bell towers in my time, but I think the set up pictured at 16a is the most scary yet.

    Given who the setter of today’s Toughie is, be afraid, be very afraid!!

    1. Just had a look at the Toughie, gulp! I stand in awe of anyone who could even start it. Please please DT never let this man on the back page.

        1. Not sure how useful I can comment given that I didn’t understand a blind word of it! Sorry you don’t find my comments useful, I’m only trying to stick up for the dumb and bewildered!

  2. I really enjoyed this puzzle, took me quite a long time though.

    Thanks for the review, needed for some parsing.

    Thanks to Giovanni, as always firm but fair.

    If CS had taken more than a millisecond to get 16a I would have been surprised!

        1. I’ve had a constant stream of visitors all day, so have only just had time to look at this. The answer is SANTA FE and I have corrected the review.

  3. Another classic Friday puzzle. Agree with **/*** rating. 17a appealed to us as best today among a plethora of great clues. Thanks Giovanni and Scchua.
    PS. We have been struggling for hours and are still struggling with the monster from the interior.

  4. Thanks to Giovanni, and to Scchua. A pleasant solve in Costa…

    Fortunately I do not have much to do in the office this morning. Judging by some of the comments, the toughie might take some time!

  5. Took me longer than it ought to have done but I agree with 2* for difficulty. Thanks to Giovanni & to Sschua for the explanations.

  6. Scchua
    is the answer you have provided for 16a correct? I think there may be an S missing from the 1st word

    1. As spindrift and Jezza said, and to add, my explanation should be read as “A magistrate of ancient Rome, once (upon a time).”

      1. Sorry, I thought it meant that they could only do it once and not again (but I know that was wrong)

  7. An excellent solve for a fine Friday morning. Thanks Giovanni and Scchua. I’m intrigued to find out the significance of the coloured squares in the Toughie. That’ll have to wait until daily bike ride completed.

  8. Excellent puzzle, very enjoyable, lots of very clever clues, quite made up for yesterday’s disappointment. Best clue for me was 25a. Many thx to the Master for a super end to the week.

      1. Actually, Brian, now that I’m looking at 13d I think that, as usual, I agree with you. By the way, how did you get on yesterday?

            1. “Insulting” is the definition.

              A three-letter term for “rogue” goes outside (“without”) a two-letter indication of a sound that one might make when hesitating over the next word to say. This is followed by A (from the clue) and a four-letter informal term for a member of one of the current coalition parties.

              1. Thanks Qix, it was a bit complicated for my simple mind and I can now see how it was difficult to provide the hint

              2. Thought I understood the clue now you have me doubting my reasoning. What has dog got to do with rogue or am I misreading the explanation?

                  1. I never cease to be daily amazed by the number of people who prefer to ask why something means something via the blog rather than the less embarrassing method of using a dictionary.

                    1. My understanding is that the blog is here for more advanced crossworders to help the less experienced folk and I think that it works very well, it ceertainly does for me

                    2. Yes that’s right BD and I now have a copy of the BRB which all crossworders should have . It’s a combination of the two but the experienced folk are very helpful

                    3. Hmm, at risk of sticking my head way above the parapet, there are times even with dictionaries et al, I still don’t get the wordplay and I do resort to my comfortable BD website!! Collywobbles, I know it’s too early to mention the c word, BUT that particular BRB is on the list!!!

  9. I put ATTIC too, which made 2D difficult! And REASONABLE at 15D until I came to 21A and realised my mistake, but all right in the end. I quite enjoyed it and agree the **/*** rating. Thanks tto Giovanni and Scchua.

  10. Straightforward and untaxing crossword but nevertheless very enjoyable. My thanks to the setter and to scchua for the excellent review.

  11. Morning Scchua and thank you for the hints though I managed without today, a lovely Giovanni crossword today with lots of favourite clues, dare I say, my favourite crossword this week so far :-) , fav of all 22a, just one thing I can’t see where the
    second ‘b’ comes from in 4d? probably another dense moment! I admit to not having heard of 13a or 5d!

    1. Hi Mary, re 4d, the second B comes from “BE” in the clue (in my explanations, if it’s in blue, it comes from the clue itself).

      1. I’ve looked and looked at this and still can’t quite see it, I can see how it’s supposed to work, but I can’t see that it does, it’s driving me crazy! I know it does sort of work but if I think about it any more I’ll go mad!

        1. The “what makes” at the start of the clue makes it sound a little odd. It’s there to help with the surface, but also to allow the “be” in the clue to be in the subjunctive mood, but I don’t think that it stops the clue from working.

          “Trying” in the definition can be seen as a recognition that such a person is attempting to live life in what they see as the proper way.

          1. At first I thought about “trying” in that sense, but then, someone in that position, in contrast, say, to a novice, would surely have been past the attempting stage, and be religious without even trying?

                  1. I suspect that the idea is that one ought always to strive towards a religious ideal, and, therefore, that a “monastic” lifestyle would be seen as a countinual attempt to live life in the right way.

                    Some would say that “original sin” makes it impossible for humans to live perfect lives, and that they must always strive to overcome that inherent imperfection.

                    People do, of course, say a great many strange things.

          2. Yes, thanks Qix, so ‘What makes bishop” is the first ‘b’, then ‘be’ from the clue, all included in i.e. ‘taken in by’ another word for idiot i.e. ‘ass’ to give us a woman ‘trying’ to be religious, just one of those clues that doesn’t quite sit right with me I suppose :-)

  12. Thank you Giovanni and Scchua for your review. Very enjoyable. Completed without hints – but stared at the answer for 17d for a while – sure that I had it right, but the word “mishap” caused me to think that there must be an anagram somewhere – but obviously not !

    Another answer that I had was 13d but I was struggling with the “rog” in “rogue” – incorrectly as Scchua has explained – thank you. I do find that occasionally I get an answer quite quickly and then struggle to sort out the wordplay.

    1. A teacher’s pet traditionally sits at the front of the class (i.e. near Miss) and a mishap that’s almost disastrous is a close shave or ‘near miss’.

        1. And to add to Gazza, I hinted at that with the last part of my explanation: ” – where her pet might be”.

  13. This was the kind of crossword that I found difficult while I was in the muddle of it but now can’t quite see why. Definitely more of a 3* for me today and 4* for enjoyment.
    I seemed to stare at lots of the clues for ages, getting nowhere fast, but then did some of the longer ones and eventually got going. My last two were 1 and 7d. 12a also took a while as I was thinking of the wrong kind of fan – stupid as it was one of the easiest clues.
    I liked 13, 16 and 27a and 3, 15, 22 and 24d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and Scchua.

    1. . . . I originally meant to put “in the MIDDLE of it” but, having thought again, perhaps “muddle” was a Freudian typo, if such a thing exists!

        1. I think we should add it to the list – we will have our own blog dictionary soon what with perservation, explaination, numberal (you know those Roman ones!) and now a muddle in the centre. :D

  14. I am quietly stunned as I was convinced that Giovanni had taken the day off given my struggles with his other crosswords and general grumpiness on my part in trying to solve them! But I romped through this in very very short order. Just goes to show….perseverance. Favourite was 13. Lovely bit of misdirection in it. Thought rogue without hesitation (ER) meant OGU featured in the solution!

    1. That’s what we were meant to think Roger a bit of deliberate misdirection, I thought exactly the same!

    2. I used to hate Fridays and Giovanni crosswords when I started just over three years ago, finding them almost impossibe, but with perservation and help from this blog, I have come to mostly enjoy Giovanni puzzles, my second favourite to Rufus, well done Roger

  15. Thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle, as usual but got a bit stuck in N/E corner and had to resort to hints, for which many thanks Scchua, and thanks to Giovanni for another good Friday

  16. Another nice puzzle from The Don.

    Faves : 10a, 11a (pleasant change from LA & NY), 16a, 23a, 27a, 6d, 13d & 15d.

    Weather still good in NL but somewhat cooler – rain overnight.

    scchua – do you pronounce this like the seabird skua?

  17. I enjoyed this to-day . Last one in was 4d ,although I had Abbess in mind for a long time but couldn’t justify it as the word “trying” was putting me off. Thanks to Giovanni & Scchua.

  18. Thanks to Giovanni & to scchua for the review & hints. Enjoyed this one, but was beaten by 1d, thought it was sobs, so obvious when you see the hint ! Favourites were 19&23a and 6&17d. Autumn is here !

  19. Where have I been all my life?
    Never heard of 6d although I got it by constructing the word then looking it up.
    Enjoyable and satisfying.
    Thanks Giovanni and scchua.

  20. Meat to add a small Pedant’s Point. It is wrong to say that a joiner is part of a carpenter’s team. It is the other way round, if anything. Carpenters say ‘that looks about right’, joiners ‘that’s not a bad fit’ and a cabinet maker says ‘ that joint is spot-on’ !!

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